When a mysterious and destructive magical force strikes near Sarasota, Florida, the chief of police assigns his best investigator and arguably strongest wizard, Josephine O’Connor, to the case. As Josephine studies and investigates this mysterious phenomenon, she learns that a young woman has become a lab rat to develop stronger wizards. As Josephine tries to help the woman control her abilities, it becomes apparent that the new wizard has a volatile power that may prove impossible to contain. Josephine and her friends face their greatest challenge yet when a hostile AI known as APU 81, created by an advanced civilization, resurfaces and targets them for termination. APU 81 has plotted for centuries to enslave humanity and the time has finally come for it to carry out its sinister plans.
Myles was a portly man with black hair and blue eyes wearing jeans, a brown knit shirt, and a green jacket that was too insubstantial for the chilly outdoors of Sedalia, Missouri. He stood as still as a statue, transfixed by the two fist-sized crystal cubes resting on the ground at his feet. Swirling, mist-like energy spilled from the devices and sank deep into the dirt to the ancient structure far below. Myles was positioned near the far edge of the dying cornfield which hadn’t been tended to for several months. His body shivered but he didn’t care in the least. His attention was absorbed by the task at hand. It had taken weeks to find this place and now it was taking days to fix the remains of the facility buried underground. It was one of many similar structures containing advanced and powerful technology built by humans many centuries ago. Compared to the civilization now, it was hard to imagine humans had created such marvels. Not much had remained of this facility but it had been enough for the nanites of the crystal cubes to begin their work of restoration. Myles ignored the discomfort of his body as it grew colder. He simply didn’t care what happened to it. APU 81 inhabited this human and to its way of thinking, there were plenty of humans around to spare.
It took all of APU 81’s concentration to direct the nanites to work as efficiently as possible. The perimeter of the facility spanned several miles and APU 81 had set up a disruption field to prevent APU 4093 from detecting the terramezic energy in use. It was absolutely vital that APU 81 continue to work in secret until it seized control of this facility. Myles tore his gaze from the crystal cubes, known as NPX regeneration units, because he detected a human life form approaching. He still maintained most of his mental capacity on directing the nanites but resented the small portion of concentration it required to deal with the unwelcome guest. Myles watched the man stride over toward him. He was average height, in his forties, with thinning brown hair, a mustache, and green eyes. He wore a plaid shirt and jeans and his name was Ernest, the town sheriff. Sedalia boasted a meager population of about twelve hundred and Myles had recently purchased this abandoned farm that rested just outside of the border. APU 81 had believed the isolation of this area would afford him privacy but that was far from the truth. The nosy inhabitants of this town found many reasons to stop by. On the other hand, APU 81 figured if this had been a big city, the neighbors would probably be just as bad. Humans were a constant nuisance that it was forced to contend with.
“Greetings, sheriff,” Myles said in a pleasant tone.
Ernest leveled a curious look at him. “I’ve received reports that there are strange spells going on here.”
“Strange spells?” Myles flashed an amused smile. “I’m working on a revolutionary enchantment that will enhance the soil and result in faster and better crops in the area. It’s very important work.”